Lingolit II – Linguistics in the pop press

A little more than a year ago, I wrote a Lingoblog article recommending a selection of books discussing various topics in linguistics from a pop science perspective – that is, books that are about technical aspects of linguistics, but which can be understood without any prior knowledge of the field. Since these past twelve months have, for many of us, taken place largely inside the same four walls, there has (to look on the bright side) been plenty of time to read.

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True to form, a handful of the books in my personal reading pile has been about language and linguistics. My previous article was sparked by my conflicted feelings about Daniel Everett’s Language: The Cultural Tool, and I …

LingoLit: A Linguist’s Quarantine Reading Guide

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Blogger’s note:
I originally wrote this blog entry with the intention of asking the editors of Lingoblog to release it shortly before the summer holidays. However, since then another situation has arisen, which to an even higher degree seems to leave people needing something good to read, so I’ve decided instead to submit this entry now, as a guide to quarantine rather than summer reading. I urge you to consider it a bit of tragic irony when I refer to the holidays below, rather than to the current situation.
The libraries here in Denmark may be closed, but there’s still audio- and e-books as well as online bookstores that are accessible without venturing into the public and risking contamination. I

Only 100 spoken words per day: Vox

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Can you imagine a world where you are only allowed to speak a certain amount of words per day? Imagine if the amount was 100 words. It does not take a conversation analyst to argue or explain that this number is incredibly low, just try counting the number of words you have used in your last conversation today, and you will see how the numbers add up pretty quickly. Imagine if a metal bracelet around your wrist keeps track of your verbal behavior. Then imagine that, if you exceed this number, the bracelet will give you an electric shock. Finally, imagine if this only applies to women.

This is the world that the author Christina Dalcher invites us in to

‘Microphone in the Mud’ by Laura Robinson

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Lingoblog continues to provide you with suggestions for your summer readings on various linguistic topics. This week we have found a book about fieldwork.

As a linguistic fieldworker you typically travel to a remote place to live with a tribe, you are adopted into the community and you learn a language in order to document and describe it. So you take on many different roles. First and foremost, you’re a linguistic researcher, trying to uncover patterns in an underdescribed or perhaps completely undescribed language. You’re also a data archivist, ethnologist, technician and administrator, just to name a few: fieldwork involves the collection and storage of high-quality data in an ethical manner, typically with ample administrative and bureaucratic hurdles to overcome.…

Around Europe in Sixty Languages by Gaston Dorren. Book review.

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This post is a book review of Gaston Dorren’s Lingo: A Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe AND Lingo. Around Europe in Sixty Languages. First edition 2014. New York: Grove Press. Accompanying website: https://languagewriter.com/.

A friend of mine went all the way to the United States and all she bought for me was this book, “Lingo”. The similarity between the name of this blog, Lingoblog.dk and the book is purely coincidental. The author of Lingo is the Dutch language journalist Gaston Dorren.

Lingo is an English adapted version of his Dutch book Taaltoerisme, or “language tourism”, which Dorren wrote a few years ago. A respected friend and colleague had read the book in its Dutch version, and his judgment …